Progreso elects two college students to school board


    <p>Alanis and Lopez will assume their duties as school board members May 18.{/p}

    Progreso voters elected two young college students to sit on the Progreso Independent School District school board Saturday.

    This weekend TMs election comes after a couple of rough years for the district.

    In 2013, School Board President Michael Vela was implicated in a bribery scandal and sentenced to more than six years in federal prison.

    Last year, Felix Hernandez Jr., a school board member, was charged for drug smuggling after police found more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in his semi-trailer. His case is still pending in court.

    Now, a new generation is taking their place on the school board.

    On Saturday Progreso voters elected Alejandro Alanis, 21, and Luis Lopez, 19, to fill place 6 and place 7 on the Progreso ISD school board. Alanis and Lopez secured 64 and 63 percent of the vote, respectively.

    Alanis, a 2012 Progreso High School graduate said the board needs members who know what it's like to be a 21st-century student.

    We are very young and bond really well with the students; people in the high school still know who we are, said Alanis, who is currently studying music education at the University of Texas Brownsville.

    Lopez said the two will bring a fresh perspective to the board and, as students, will be able to better understand what works and what doesn TMt.

    I TMll tell them I TMve had experience with that and it didn TMt really work, but here is something that did work and helped me personally, Lopez said.

    Now studying business at University of Texas- Pan American, Lopez said he felt like his friends who attended Progreso High School didn't receive the help they needed to prepare for college.

    I would explain to them what I wanted to do in college but when I asked them they seemed confused and overwhelmed with what they should do with their lives, said Lopez, a 2014 Weslaco East High School graduate.

    With a cousin enrolled in Progreso High School, Lopez said he's fully invested in his new position.

    I'm more enthusiastic now; I got to help him out, help his class, Lopez said.

    The two new board members said the community didn't trust the board, which is why they want to be more approachable.

    "We want to prove to people we are the choice of a new generation and the right kind of candidates for this position, Alejandro said.

    Alanis and Lopez will assume their duties as school board members May 18.

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